Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Friday, 12 June 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denies slavery ever existed in Australia *WARNING this post contains the names of people who are no longer living*


This was Scott Morrison boldly asserting yesterday that “there was no slavery in Australia.
"Australia when it was founded as a settlement, as New South Wales, was on the basis that there'd be no slavery," the Prime Minister told Ben Fordham on 2GB. "And while slave ships continued to travel around the world, when Australia was established yes, sure, it was a pretty brutal settlement."
"My forefathers and foremothers were on the First and Second Fleets. It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia," he said.

Why did Morrison chose to brazenly lie like this? Probably because he knew his statement would go to print without being immediately challenged by either News Corp, Nine, or Canberra Press Gallery journalists - and once in print with online amplification more than a few people would accept his lie as truth.

Thankfully Justice Garry Downes (President), Deputy President Stephen Estcourt and QC Deputy President Don Muller in an Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia decision on 18 October 2002 entered this into the record:

Nelly Wanda is said to be a Queensland Aboriginal who was born in 1883 and died in 1903…. It is said that Nelly Wanda was brought to Tasmania from Queensland when she was 9 years old by a ship's captain named Lucas who, it is said, dealt in 'human trade'. Nelly was sold as a house servant and died at the age of 19 in childbirth.”

Newspaper reports found at Trove also mention slavery.

"Aboriginal Slave. Recaptured and Flogged. 
Ill-treatment of an Alleged Slave. 

 Under yesterday's date a telegram was received by the Colonial Secretaryfrom Mr. P. Keiley, lightkeeper at Karomba, at the mouth of the Norman River. Mr. Keiley states that a fugitive female slave (presumably an an aboriginal) who had run away from her master or masters had been recaptured and flogged at that place yesterday. In Mr. Keiley's opinion the case is one which warrants the interference of the Colonial Secretary. A similar telegram has been received from the same source by the Aborigines Protection Society of Queensland. Immediately upon receipt of the telegram the Colonial Secretary wired instructions to the police-magistrate at Normanton to make a thorough and searching inquiry into the matter, and to report to him as soon as possible."
The Telegraph, 18 October 1890



























"The Government at least cannot plead ignorance of the iniquities which are openly perpertrated, for an official of its own, Dr. W. E. Both, Northern Protector of Aborigines; testifies to certain abuses which exist in the the treatment of the unfortunate Northern black helots. He tells in his official report of absolute kidnapping, of evasion of the labour regulations, and of the selling of young aborigine to traders. He says he has reported absolute proof that such has been the case, and as no departmental action has resulted the secretary of the Protection Society has good grounds for appealing to a higher power."
The Worker, 8 December 1900


"As regards the capturing of natives on the Descal, this has frequently been done by the notorious Hodgson, who chained men, women and children together and marched them under a broiling sun to the station, where they were detained as shepherds. It seems incredible that the people in the neighborhood of Pilbarra that this man was allowed to leave the country without any investigation being held as to his systematic cruelties. He was universally abhorred, both by blacks and white people. Hicks' black financial statement will have attention yet."
West Australian Sunday Times, 1 September 1901


"Astounding revelations have been made regarding the kidnapping of an aboriginal boy from Port Hedland four years ago The District Magistrate at Karachi, India, has forwarded statements from several people alleging that Jourack, a brother of Dust Mahomet, who was killed at Port Hedland I8 months ago, had taken a black boy named Pidgy, then six years old, to his (Jourack's) 'home near Karachi, where this lad is now held as a working slave."
The Register, 30 January 1911

"MINISTER ADMITS SLAVE TRADING 
 AN ABORIGINE SOLD 

 PART OF A STATION 
The sale of an aborigine as a servant at a station property in northern Australia was admitted by the Minister for Home and Territories, Mr. Marr, yesterday."

The Labor Daily, 18 October 1927


Tuesday, 12 May 2020

How the Clarence Valley handled the Spanish Influenza pandemic in 1919 - with discipline it only took around 14 weeks to eradicate that health menace


25- 26 March 2019


The Daily Examiner
, 9 May 2020, p.5:


After scouring old newspaper clippings, a Yamba researcher has some interesting insight into the similarities between two pandemics separated by more than a century. 

Using historical records accessed from the comfort of his home, John McNamara – research officer at the Port of Yamba Historical Society – has been busy piecing together the Clarence Valley response to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919. 

“What stood out was mainly the similarities between what happened then and how it has been dealt with now,” he said. 

“Closing the borders and restricting travel, it is pretty similar to what they have done now.” Using the articles from The Daily Examiner and The Clarence River Advocate, Mr McNamara was able to get a picture of how it affected different parts of the region. 

“The first case was a prisoner that came up on the ships from Sydney – then when the first case was reported in Grafton and they stopped travel,” he said. 

At the beginning of the outbreak Grafton City Council requested the Health Minister place restrictions on people coming from Sydney to Grafton by rail or steamer. 

The council wanted to prevent anyone travelling at all unless they had a “clean health certificate”. 

By the end of the outbreak Grafton Base Hospital had been “absolutely handed over” for the treatment of influenza patients, with 500 cases treated there. 

The Lower Clarence fared better, with Mr McNamara unable to find a single confirmed case in Yamba, though there were isolated outbreaks elsewhere. 

The response in the Lower Clarence began with a public meeting on February 3, 1919, where a central committee was formed and “arrangements were immediately made to combat the scourge”. 

“An isolation ward was then established at Maclean Showground and the first patient was admitted on May 20, and up to the end of that month eight patients were admitted.” He said when the quarantine centre closed in mid-August, they had treated 46 patients.“The Lower Clarence managed to escape the worst effects of the virus thanks to the swift quarantine response by the government and by the end of August 1919 was declared virus-free,” Mr McNamara said.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Australian-led team proves that as a species we are older than we thought


The Guardian, 3 April 2020:

Homo erectus cranium outline. The earliest known skull of Homo erectus has been unearthed by an Australian-led team in South Africa. 
Photograph: Supplied by La Trobe University

The earliest known skull of Homo erectus has been unearthed by an Australian-led team of researchers who have dated the fossil at two million years old, showing the first of our ancestors existed up to 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The lead researcher Prof Andy Herries said the skull was pieced together from more than 150 fragments uncovered at the Drimolen Main Quarry, located about 40km north of Johannesburg in South Africa. It was likely aged between two and three years old when it died.

Herries, a geochronologist and head of archaeology at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, said he “could not stress how rare it is” to find find enough fragments to piece together an intact brain case, especially given juvenile skulls are thin and fragile.

“At this age they are so susceptible to damage,” he said. “It’s so exciting, because our fascination with human evolution is because it’s the story of us, and when we go back this far with a discovery like this, it’s the story of every person living on the planet.

“The group this two or three-year-old was a part of could have been the origin of everyone alive today.”

He said while there was a lot of disagreement of opinion in the field of archaeology and human evolution, one of the reasons Homo erectus is significant is because everyone agreed: “This is the beginning of us, this is the beginning of our genus.”...... 

Herries said the finding was particularly special because in 1924 the Australian anatomist Raymond Dart identified the the first fossil ever found of Australopithecus africanus, an extinct hominin closely related to humans and discovered in South Africa. 

“Nobody believed him at the time because they thought the origin of humans would be in Europe,” Herries said. “And now, 100 years later, DMH 134 will go sit in the same room as that child he identified, further proving what he found. It’s a testament to the work of Australians on human evolution.”.....

Monday, 23 December 2019

IMPEACHMENT OF A U.S. PRESIDENT: Dear Madam Speaker, Sincerely yours, Donald J. Trump


Nineteen politicians/public officials were impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives before Donald J. Trump became the twentieth individual and the third president to be referred to the Senate.

All but one of these nineteen had a Senate trial. Seven were acquitted, eight found guilty, with another four jumping ship through pre-emptive resignation and jurisdiction lapsing in the matter of another.

Of the two presidents in this list, Andrew Johnson and William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton - both were acquitted.

Richard Milhous Nixon is not on this list as he was the only U.S. president to resign in order to avoid a formal Senate trial.

Impeachment charges ranged from: conspiring to assist in Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish-controlled territories; waging war against the U.S. Government; sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding; making false and misleading statements; criminal disregard for the office and accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments; income tax evasion; abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office; and of remaining on the bench following criminal conviction; through to charges of intoxication on the bench.

On 19 December 2019 the House of Representatives impeached Trump 
for "high crimes and misdemeanors" on a 230 to 197 vote regarding "abuse of power" and a 229 to 198 vote regarding "obstruction of Congress".

One Democrat and two Republicans did not participate in either vote and one Democrat declared neutrality with a Present declaration.

The day before the vote Trump wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.......
https://www.scribd.com/document/440211861/President-Donald-Trump-s-letter-to-Speaker-of-the-House-Nancy-Pelosi

After the impeachment vote Trump tweeted:


Friday, 6 December 2019

When going straight to source documents when doing research applies to critics as well as authors


This article below demonstrates the advisability of going straight to source documents when doing research on a particular subject.

Not what an author 'quoted' or 'attributed' but to the actual extant documents.

Then go to other reliable contemporary accounts from the era in question, before deciding if the modern historian, amatuer historian, journalist, commentator or blogger has accurately conveyed facts.

Something Andrew Bolt appears not to have done.

When it comes to ancestry a good many people do not know the real whens and wheres of their family history, some know part of their family story and a very lucky few can count their line back by name across many generations.

In Australia finding out about your ancestry is as complicated by missing documents, unexplained name changes, unregistered births, unrecorded burials, adoption or removal by the state, divorce and family silences, as anywhere else in the world.

It is not uncommon to only find out some facts about your family once you are an adult.

If Bruce Pascoe says that on doing family research he discovered he has a forebear or forebears who were traditional owners/custodians of land in Australia why would I not take him at his word?

The Saturday Paper, 30 November 2019:

There is one particular question Andrew Bolt does not wish to answer.
In correspondence with The Saturday Paper, the News Corp columnist was asked three times whether he has read Bruce Pascoe’s best-selling history of Aboriginal Australia, Dark Emu. Each time, he evaded the question.
It is useful, then, to start an examination of his attacks on the author with this in mind.
A more inconvenient truth is that Bolt’s dislike of Pascoe began at least two years before the publication of the book, which has now become the focus of a minor culture war led by Bolt and others.
Bolt’s efforts to “fact-check” Pascoe’s book are based largely around a website called Dark Emu Exposed.
The site’s contributors cast doubt on Pascoe’s account of an Indigenous history different from the one allowed by colonial interpretation. They also doubt his Aboriginal heritage.
As one prominent Indigenous leader tells The Saturday Paper, on the condition of anonymity, the argument against Pascoe’s work is an extension of “19th-century race theory”, which once espoused the view that race is the major indicator of a person’s character and behaviour.
“Any suggestion that Aborigines are anything other than furtive rock apes has to be destroyed by these people,” the leader says.

“WHEN THEY INSIST ON THIS INQUIRY, DO THEY WONDER IF THIS PERSON HAD FAMILY MEMBERS STOLEN FROM THE MISSIONS? DO THEY WONDER IF THEY WERE HIDING TRUTHS BECAUSE OF A CONCERTED EFFORT TO SHAME OR HUMILIATE ABORIGINAL ANCESTRY?”
Pascoe’s book is based on close reading of the original journals of Australia’s explorers. In these journals, he has found new evidence of Indigenous agriculture and development. As the Indigenous leader notes: “He’s gone to the records and said, ‘Hang on, what does this really mean?’ While some historians with their PhDs have gone to the same original documents and came to the conclusion that we were all backward.”
In Dark Emu, which has sold more than 100,000 copies, Pascoe mounts a convincing argument that Aboriginal people actively managed and cultivated the landscape, harvested seeds for milling into cakes at an astonishing scale, took part in complex aquaculture and built “towns” of up to 1000 people.
That word, by the way – “town” – is not Pascoe’s. That is how one such settlement was referred to by a man in the exploration party of Thomas Mitchell in the mid-1800s.
What some have found so astonishing about Pascoe’s claimed developments is not that they happened – they are right there in Charles Sturt’s and Mitchell’s journals, among many others – but that we, as a nation, could have been so ignorant to their existence.
As Pascoe wrote last year in Meanjin: “Almost no Australians know anything about the Aboriginal civilisation because our educators, emboldened by historians, politicians and the clergy, have refused to mention it for 230 years.
“Think for a moment about the extent of that fraud. Imagine the excellence of the advocacy required to get our most intelligent people today to believe it.”
It is Pascoe’s attempt to shout down this conspiracy of silence that has primed the culture war machine. But why should a successful race of First Nations peoples be such a threat to modern Australians?
The most compelling answer to this question is that it removes a psychological shunt in the mind of European settlers and their descendants that this occupation, this invasion of land unceded, was to save Indigenous people from themselves, to bring civilisation to them.
Of course, it is uncomfortable to later ask: What if this race of First Australians were civilised all along? Maybe we were the barbarians?
Pascoe achieves this questioning with a somewhat controversial manoeuvre. He takes the European ideal of farming and architecture, and thoroughly white notions of success, and applies them, through the primary evidence, to Indigenous Australians.
Asked why he is offended by Pascoe’s assertion of complex farming and settlements built by First Nations peoples, Bolt said he is not.
“So, to answer your insult: I am not ‘offended’ by the thought of Aborigines being ‘well-adapted’ or ‘sophisticated’. How on earth would that be offensive to me? I in fact am determined to change policies and thinking that hold back so many Aboriginal communities that are now in poverty,” he said in a lengthy correspondence with The Saturday Paper.
“I am simply interested in the truth, and opposed to falsehoods … If I’m ‘offended’ by anything it is frauds......

The agitation surrounding Dark Emu, renewed by the announcement of an ABC documentary, has quickly driven a stake through the recently formed advisory group on the co-design for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. The group is chaired by Indigenous academic Marcia Langton, a defender of Pascoe’s, and counts Chris Kenny as a member.
Last week, Ken Wyatt, who established the group as minister for Indigenous Australians, backed Pascoe against the conservative onslaught and noted that Australians tend to “question if you are Indigenous”.
“If Bruce tells me he’s Indigenous, then I know that he’s Indigenous,” Wyatt told Kenny on Sky News.
This week, Wyatt told ABC’s Radio National that his office has been receiving calls where staff have been threatened and called “cunts” because he dared defend Pascoe.
“I’ve had one of my staff resign because she can’t cope with being abused over the issue,” he said.
Another of the co-design group’s members, Indigenous lawyer Josephine Cashman, has publicly questioned Pascoe’s ancestry. On Twitter, she stated that her former partner is a Yuin man who says he has never heard of Pascoe. Other Yuin people responded on Twitter, cautioning Cashman for relying on a single man’s testimony.
A week ago, Kenny wrote in The Australian: “Many claims in Dark Emu have been debunked by forensic reference to primary sources.”
But this week The Saturday Paper spent two days at the National Library of Australia reviewing the original documents and explorer accounts in question. They are – at every instance – quoted verbatim and cited accordingly in an extensive bibliography at the end of Pascoe’s book.
Bolt alleges: “They even overlooked the fact that his big hit – Dark Emu – included incredible misquotations of its sources.
“How else could Pascoe have argued that the historians had been wrong. Aborigines had not been hunter-gatherers but sophisticated farmers, living in ‘towns’ of up to 1000 people, in ‘houses’ with ‘pens’ for animals. (Koalas, perhaps?)”
It would take many thousands of words to address all of Bolt’s claims, but it is useful to highlight a few of them. The Saturday Paper put these claims to Bolt.
For example, he says that Pascoe tells the story of Sturt stumbling onto a town of 1000 people on the edge of the Cooper Creek. Dark Emu does not claim this; it instead quotes Sturt correctly on this front, when his party is taken in by “3 or 400 natives” in the area. Bolt says he was referring to a speech Pascoe made where he said there were 1000 people in the town.
Thomas Mitchell also noted a town of 1000 people in his journals, and the quote is attributed to Mitchell in Dark Emu at the bottom of page 15.
Bolt, when he does reference Mitchell, gets the date of that quotation wrong, too. He says it is from Mitchell’s 1848 journal when, in fact, the quote is from his 1839 journal. This, too, is recorded faithfully in Dark Emu.
Bolt has twice scoffed at the idea of animal yards being found by these explorers.
But Dark Emu records the firsthand account of David Lindsay on his 1883 survey of Arnhem Land, where he says he “came on the site of a large native encampment, quite a quarter of a mile across. Framework of several large humpies, one having been 12ft high: small enclosures as if some small game had been yarded and kept alive … This camp must have contained quite 500 natives.”
In reply, Bolt says: “Maybe they were animal pens, who knows?
“Arnhem Land has, after all, more game than Cooper Creek that might at a stretch be kept in a pen, although it is difficult to imagine what animals might have been kept. Wallabies?”
Again, Bolt says he is not so much quoting from Pascoe’s book as from his lectures, of which the author has done hundreds since Dark Emu’s 2014 release.
However, Bolt frequently conflates the two.
While Bolt mocks Pascoe for speaking at a lecture about a well that was made by Indigenous people and was “70 feet deep”, there are, in fact, a litany of accounts of incredibly sophisticated wells in the journals. Of one, Sturt writes: “… we arrived at a native well of unusual dimensions. It was about eight feet wide at the top and 22ft deep, and it was a work that must have taken the joint strength of a powerful tribe to perform.”
In his rebuttal, the Herald Sun columnist has been forced to accept there were incredibly sophisticated settlements and seed-milling operations, and that Aboriginal people really did give cake and honey and roast ducks to Sturt and his party. The debate has now been reduced to minutiae – questioning how many mills were going and the different depth of various wells.
Bolt responds: “Trust you to attempt to make this about me and not his incredible claims.”
But Pascoe is not alone in his assessments.
Writing in Inside Story this week, Australian National University professor of history Tom Griffiths lauded the book and its addition to a long trajectory of scholarly work.
“My point is that the blindnesses and complacencies that Pascoe rails against are the same silences and lies that Australian historians have been collaboratively challenging for decades now,” he says.
“It’s a job that will never finish. Pascoe is primarily bridling at an older form of history, the history he learnt at school and university 50 years ago.”
Edie Wright, the chair of Magabala Books, which published Dark Emu, told The Saturday Paper: “We unequivocally support our outstanding author Bruce Pascoe, and celebrate the contribution that Dark Emu has made to bringing a fuller understanding of our history to so many Australians of all ages.”
On Wednesday, Marcia Langton replied to Josephine Cashman on Twitter. The two were previously close.
“The critique of Dark Emu is a job for actual historians not Andrew Bolt & others who benefit financially from tearing apart the lives of people looking for family,” she said.
Looking for family has taken on a mournful quality this week, as Pascoe’s kin went to libraries around the country to find the name of their Aboriginal ancestor. But how to proceed, one must ask, when so much of their story and the story of a people has been destroyed to protect the last excuse for colonisation?
Read the full article here.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 30, 2019 as "Bolt, Pascoe and the culture wars". Subscribe to The Saturday Paper here.


Note

The website Dark Emu Exposed appears to be hosted by tucows.com, was created on 2019-06-01 and registered to Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0154877432 as the creator/owner/administrator of the website apparently wishes to remain anonymous. However Roger Karge is reportedly the person who initiallly floated the idea for the site.

One has to wonder if the website is also the work of aquaintances of Keith Windshuttle, Chris Kenny, Peter O'Brien or even Andrew Bolt himself. 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison brings shame on all of us who arrived in the country from 1778 onwards


And Jenna Price* expresses that shame for us all......

The Canberra Times, 25 October 2019:

It's the only night legendary Australian band the Go-Betweens are playing in Sydney and the audience is keyed up. A woman gives a very moving Acknowledgment of Country - you know, the ones which are more than just the nod to elders past, present and emerging. The ones which talk about rivers and sky, kin and skin. It's Wiradjuri woman Yvonne Weldon, chair of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, whose ability to hold an audience is epic.


Midway, a bloke in the audience starts heckling. Get a move on, he says, and worse.

"I paused. And then I said, 'This is exactly for you, we are the oldest living cultures of the world'," Weldon remembers.

There was a moment of silence before people started telling him to shush - but in stronger language. Weldon continued. Her aim, she says, was to address a big-mouthed, small-minded person.

Now the Prime Minister is doing his own interrupting, colonising these acknowledgments with his own version. Last Saturday, at a Liberal function at Parliament House, he acknowledged the Ngunnawal people. And then he said: "Can I also acknowledge, as is my habit, anyone who is serving in our defence forces and certainly those who are veterans, and simply say on behalf of a very grateful nation, thank you for your service."

It's his own thing. Six words about the traditional owners and entire sentences about everyone else. He didn't just do it at the Liberal Council. He also did it at the Migration and Settlement Awards and at the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Morrison has decided to add non-Indigenous people to the acknowledgments without reflecting on what that means and how it diminishes Aboriginal people.
Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin performs a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country before a State of Origin game in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin performs
a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country
beforea State of Origin game in Melbourne. Picture:
Getty Images

Why does this matter? We know we are on Aboriginal land. We know Australia wasn't blank earth when colonised 200 years ago. Since the arrival of Cook and company, Aboriginal people have been raped and murdered, stolen from their families, had their cultural practices and beliefs erased. They earn less, learn less, die early. There is a lot we can do to redress that, but the very least we could do is to acknowledge that we are on Aboriginal land. It's a couple of minutes out of our respective days and might even encourage a tiny bit of reflection on the part of those of us who are listening. It's not a big ask to be part of a ceremony that has its traditions going back thousands of years (yes, yes, they didn't have exactly this before white people arrived, but Aboriginal people had their own ways of welcoming to country). 

In the aeons before, the Welcome to Country was a sign of peace. And it's this which irks D'harawal scholar Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney (I work there too), the most. Bodkin-Andrews, who has researched Welcome to Country controversies, says the Prime Minister has appropriated an act of peace and embedded war. 
Bodkin-Andrews reminds us that Welcome to Countries (delivered by traditional custodians) are about Aboriginal people sharing their histories and their connections to Country. Acknowledgments (given by Aboriginal people who are not custodians of the land or by non-Aboriginal people) should respect this. 

"It's asking for understanding and demonstrating that our arms are open to you. Military personnel can be agents of war and Morrison's comments are warmongering in a symbol of peace. That is ultimately disrespectful." 

It's also puzzling. Why acknowledge that particular category of Australian?

"It's reflective of his mentality and the party he stands for."

NOTES

* Jenna Price, BA (Communications) (NSWIT), MA (UTS), PhD (Sydney), Senior Lecturer, Journalism Program, University of Technology Sydney.


Friday, 10 May 2019

Memo to NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole & NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance: Pull you fingers out and fix this!



Sportsman's Creek Bridge (1910) sited close to where the creek meets the Clarence River
Image: GeoLink

The Daily Examiner
, 6 May 2019, p.1:

As he stood on the now dismantled Sportsmans Creek Bridge approaches, Lawrence Museum and Historical Society president Rob Forbes held a series of letters that appalled him.

For the past two years, based on a positive relationship with Roads and Maritime Services, the society had made plans to reconstruct a full section of the bridge, preserving its memory at the museum.

Now, with a change in management, that agreement made has seemingly vanished, with RMS offering a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to what will be preserved.

“I’m appalled to think that a small local historical society trying to save one of the most historic and important structures in Lawrence has to record every single conversation made with every single person we talked to so we don’t get shafted,” Mr Forbes said.

Mr Forbes said for the first stages of planning, the rapport with RMS could not have been better, with RMS employees regularly visiting the museum to see what could be done.

“They couldn’t do enough for us,” he said. “They even organised a license from the EPA so we could take some of the building that was removed for the bridge which had lead paint.

“It carried over when we wanted a section of the bridge. I stood in the museum with the representative and we looked at the model so we were talking about the exact same thing.”

Originally it was agreed two complete ends of one span (both sides of the structure) could be reassembled to create a good representation of the bridge.

“The engineer at the meeting said we could have two complete ends of one span and ‘probably’ also a large amount of the other bridge timbers ‘if we wanted it’,” Mr Forbes said.

After the bridge was demolished recently, and with a change in management at RMS, these verbal agreements made months earlier were disregarded, according to Mr Forbes.

“An email was received stating we could now have only two ends of one truss (one side of the structure only) and 150 square metres of decking – and that this was non-negotiable,” he said.

“We’ve even had emails saying if we had a problem with the quality of the timber they’ll sell the whole lot to salvage... and we feel pressured to sign the new agreement or it’ll best lost forever.

“There was no agreement, but when they said yes for two years, as far as I’m concerned the deal was done.”

A spokesman said RMS had worked with the Lawrence community, including the museum and historical society, throughout the Sportsmans Creek Bridge project.
“Roads and Maritime has provided a replica of the bridge to the society to commemorate this historic structure, along with an agreement to supply timbers from the old bridge for re-use as a commemorative structure,” the spokesman said.

“The agreement includes providing 150sqm of bridge decking timbers to be used as a floor to support the old Ashby ferry, two ends of one truss (each end of one single truss) and supports for display purposes only and transport of the timber and truss to the museum.

“This agreement has not changed and Roads and Maritime will continue to work with the historical society to commemorate the old Sportsmans Creek timber truss bridge.”

The Lawrence Historical Society urges people to show support for the cause by either contacting Mr Forbes on 0412 715 805, or leaving comments on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Speaking truth about “the rightness of whiteness”


The Guardian, 3 April 2019:


The Labor senator and Yawuru man Pat Dodson spoke about the links between Australia’s massacre history and the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, while addressing the censure motion against Fraser Anning in the Senate.

The motion condemned Anning for his “inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.”

Dodson said Indigenous people carry the consequence of murderous prejudice “throughout our entwined history”.

 “First Nations’ peoples … know the impacts of murder wilfully carried out and morally justified by hatred of minorities, misplaced power and bullying superiority,” Dodson said.

“In Gurindji country, they talk of the Killing Times.

“Mounted Constable Willshire was stationed at Victoria River Downs in the 1890s. He was a mass murderer in uniform, who took it upon himself to protect the interests of cattlemen by dispersing the traditional owners of the lands at gunpoint.

“He took to print, justifying his actions with boastful pride and emboldened by the rightness of whiteness and condemned the First Nations’ people to death.
“Willshire wrote about the killing on Wave Hill: ‘It’s no use mincing matters. The Martini-Henry carbines at the critical moment were talking English in the silent majesty of these eternal rocks.’”

Dodson said he has walked through some of the sites of mass murder in Australia with descendants of the victims and “sometimes too with the descendants of murderers.”

“In South Australia I visited a monument erected by both sides in the small community of Elliston to commemorate the mass murder of men, women and children pushed over the steep sea cliffs by charging horsemen and barking dogs.
“I have visited the sites of massacres, of mass murders in Balgo, in Forrest River, and at Coniston. Those mass murders took place in living memory.

“I have sat down with old Warlpiri men and women who luckily survived those murderous attacks as young babies, hidden from the attacks.

“1928 was not that long ago. My mother was just seven years old.

“But we are in 2019 now and a mass murderer, rejecting the richness of difference, driven by religious hatred and xenophobia, empowered by military-style weapons, has waged his atrocity in Christchurch,” Dodson said.

“The murder of 50 innocent people does not just happen. It arises from the feeding of hate, irresponsible language and the demonising of people of colour, and difference.
“We know, and senator Anning knows, the real cause of the bloodshed in Christchurch. The real cause was prejudice, hate, and a passion for violent action, aided and abetted by the availability of military-style weapons.

“We call out those who exploit fear and ignorance for political gain: who mock the traditional dress of women of another culture; who seek donations from the manufacturers of weapons of war to override our own laws; who argue that it is “alright to be white”.

“Their values would plunge our country back into the Killing Times.

“We should instead turn our face to the light of a new future, a peaceful, non-violent, tolerant country of hope, respect and unity.

“A country where no innocent man, women or child is ever again the victim of mass murder.”